Anticipation Builds as They Approach the Coast
"The fog So thick this morning we did not think it prudent to Set out
until 10 oClock ...."
~William Clark, Nov. 3, 1805
As the Corps of Discovery proceeded down the lower Columbia to the ocean, the
river became much broader and the days were often cloudy and misty. At times, the
fog was so thick American Indians had to guide the party through the river channels.
Other times, they simply waited until the fog cleared.
On Nov. 7, 1805, the Expedition reached Pillar Rock and formed a camp. Here,
members of the party believed they could see the ocean. Expressing a rare moment of
elation, Clark penned, "Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this
great Pacific Octean which we been So long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise
made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I Suppose) may be heard distictly.
Although there is some question if the party could actually see the ocean from
this location, they certainly knew they were close to reaching their long sought-after
Making the Last Few Miles
"Our situation is dangerous."
~William Clark, Nov. 12, 1805
As the Corps of Discovery neared the mouth of the Columbia, they felt immense
joy at the possibility of reaching their final destination – the Pacific Ocean.
However, the last few miles of the lower Columbia River proved to be life-threatening.
For several days, the Corps was pinned against the shoreline, trying to shelter
themselves from strong wind, waves and rain. They were soaked to the bone, their
clothes rotting off their backs, and many were seasick from the rolling of their
canoes on the river swells.
On Nov. 15, before setting out around Point Ellice, Clark referred to their
miserable camp as "this dismal nitich where we have been confined for 6 days
passed, without the possibility of proceeding on, returning to a better Situation,
or get out to hunt, Scerce of Provisions, and torents of rain poreing on us all the
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